Court Uses De Novo Review in Variety of Decisions

This week, the Alabama Supreme Court pointed out that the do novo standard that applies to review of a judgment as a matter of law is “materially indistinguishable” from the de novo standard of review the Court employs when it reviews an appeal from a summary judgment. Glass v. Birmingham Southern Railroad Co., No. 1050831 (Ala. Sept. 28, 2007)(FELA action). The Court also, “reviews de novo a trial court’s interpretation of a statute, because only a question of law is presented.” Alfa v. City of Mobile, No. 1051747 (Sept. 28, 2007)(action to collect license tax). Finally, the Court explained that when it reviews a judgment concerning a challenge to the validity of a settlement agreement, the Court makes a de novo review of the trial court’s decision if the trial court did not receive ore tenus evidence. Billy Barnes Enterprises, Inc. v. Williams,.No. 1090083 (Ala. Sept. 28, 2007); See also, Sierra Club v. TVA, No. 06-10729 (11th Cir. Oct. 4, 2007)(in Clean Water Act opinion, court explained that, “[w]e review de novo the district court’s orders granting TVA’s motions to dismiss and for summary judgment, upholding them if there are no genuine issues of material fact and if TVA is entitled to judgment as a matter of law”).